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I Don't Care About Weapons of Mass Destruction
Last uploaded : Tuesday 22nd Apr 2003 at 04:12
Contributed by : The Editor


I don?t care if we do not find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

At the moment, the Left-wing press in the UK, and the MPs who voted against Tony Blair?s war resolution (please be reminded that he was not required under law and under what is known as Royal Prerogative to hold the vote but did so to give the anti-war bloc a chance to have their say; had they succeeded he would have resigned) are agitating about WMD. They are saying that they were lied to by the government, who in turn were given intelligence that Iraq possessed these weapons.

Just as the latest mantras of the anti-everything camp are ?America has two million people in prison, most of whom have never had due process of law;? ?America committed the worst genocide in history with the annihilation of defenceless Native Americans;? and ?America is the world?s biggest fanatically religious country of all,? the lack of a WMD find has begun to obsess the anti-war camp.

Three years ago, if anyone has asked me if I would be rejoicing after my native and adopted countries, the USA and Britain respectively, had waged war on a sovereign Muslim nation, I would have said they were insane. My view of the world changed on October 12, 2000 when the Israeli reservists Josef Avrahami and Vadim Norzhich were brutally dismembered by a crowd in Ramallah after they had taken what was reported to have been a wrong turn. We have come to accept the description of such acts as the ?result of pent-up rage? and ?the frustration of years of occupation.? When Yitzhak Rabin and a generous President, the Democrat Bill Clinton, were working around the clock to bring peace to the Holy Land, I was a staunch and active supporter of Peace Now even though Palestinian and Hezbollah violence raged unabated.

I changed on October 12, 2000 because I could no longer tolerate the perpetual bleatings of a people who have been complaining about the behaviour of Israel since I was born nearly fifty years ago. In recent years the British newspapers have given reams and reams of space to Palestinian exiles who write with great anguish about their plight. But now that we have seen the staggering conditions in which Iraqis lived under their leader -- not an Israeli, so the UN can?t blame Israel!!! --- is it not time for the West to say to Yasser Arafat, ?Shape up or ship out??

I will admit to having been moved by this man?s metamorphosis during the Rabin years, and when I was in Israel for Rabin?s Yahrzeit, Arafat?s grief seemed genuine. His lament ?Chaver, I miss you? that day became a bumper sticker across Israel overnight. But something sinister has overtaken the Middle East in the past few years culminating in the events of September 11th 2001. I wrote in these columns at that time that the unresolved conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians may have contributed to the ?cause? of the hijackers, but my heart has hardened in the intervening eighteen months. What on earth did a country do that gives the world the most beloved of films, music and sports stars to deserve such a perverse attack? What did that country do -- despite the shouts I get from liberals about the unprecedented atrocities perpetrated by America since its birth -- to deserve an assault by nineteen young Muslims who had enjoyed that nation?s hospitality and bounty for years?

Israel is a nation exploding with cultural riches. It has more symphony orchestras than exist in the whole of Africa and the Middle East, even though it is the size of Rhode Island. Since the Iraq war, one has heard daily shouts on British television and radio berating the United States for not ridding Israel of WMD. The neo-cons who are running the United States (they ascribe to the tenets of the Project for a New American Century) not only have no interest whatsoever in penalising Israel, but they lament the fact that the United States did not have adequate safeguards against a September 11th- style attack. Had it not been for the miracle of cellphones and the bravery of passengers alerted by relatives of events that had already taken place in New York and DC, Flight 77 would have ploughed into the Capitol building and a goodly portion of the American government would have been annihilated. It is disntinctly possible that 9/11 was a rehearsal for something much worse. For fifty-four years Israel has tried to live in peace with her neighbours but has had to remain a reluctant military state to protect herself from a clutch of hostile neighbours. When the Syrian representative in the USA said on 'Meet the Press' two weeks ago that his nation was a peace-loving non-aggressor, I thought of generations of Northern Israelis who have lived in eternal dread of missiles from his peaceful country.

This brings us back to my original point. I was never overly excited about weapons of mass destruction being found in Iraq. Having become a hard-hearted neo-con since September 11th 2001 I am pleased that two Western democracies have made a stand against a country that has been a belligerent, rogue state for decades and whose corrupt leaders even put the Enron crooks in the shade. Watching the palace of one of Saddam?s sons being explored by camera crews, it was appalling to see the floor-to-ceiling collections of pornographic videotapes; crates of whiskey and cognac and boxes of currency meant for the people. Saddam?s wealth is now estimated at $24 billion. We are even hearing today of a British MP -- a strident and scary hater of Israel -- who was taking cuts from Saddam?s ?Oil for Saddam and his cronies? fund. Were one to add up the wealth of Arafat and of the leaders of Iraq and Syria, Dick Cheney and Co would look like paupers.

It is of no importance to me if WMDs are not found. If the child pornography police raid a house because neighbours have complained about youngsters coming and going but the police find masses of weapons and explosives, is anyone going to say 'their raid was a violation of the owners' privacy as they did not find child porn?'
When Mayor Goode of Philadelphia shocked and awed a city by bombing a residential neighbourhood awash with drugs , the long-term result was a deeply flawed and bankrupt city improved and eventually renewed.

Notwithstanding the monumentally obdurate tribes of the ancient land of Iraq, the transformation that could ensue, which I hope is modelled on the Emirates, is a mitzvah that should be celebrated on its own merit. I do lament with considerable shock and shame the destruction of antiquities and wish this aspect of the liberation of Iraq had been handled with care. Then again, I am not sure if Jews liberated from a ghetto at any time in history in the past three thousand years would smash up museums and hospitals, but each culture has its own way of expressing its feelings upon removal of its shackles. Indeed it is as yet uncertain who looted the Iraqi museums. Boris Johnson in 'The Daily Telegraph' has even told the story (a story which JewishComment utterly repudiates) of a group of collectors led by a Mr Pearlstein meeting at the Pentagon on 24th January to discuss 'easing export restrictions on Iraqi antiquities' so that (Johnson's words) the goodies might end up in the 'guest lavatories of Florida real estate barons.' (One assumes he means Jewish barons.)

A neighbour of mine has made an uncomfortable analogy: he has mentioned the actions of Jesus when he saw the opulence of his environs and exclaimed, ?You have turned the temple into a den of thieves,? dramatically smashing his way through the wares of the merchants and money-lenders. It is not a story that I like and is one that was used to encourage anti-Semitism throughout the ages. But the neighbour's analogy is thus: he said to me, ?I think it is appalling that the Americans see the looting and pillage as ?stuff happens,? but then again, perhaps these Iraqis -- as misguided as they were -- felt compelled to destroy symbols of the regime that had ruled them.?

As the Shi?ites march against the Americans and all is not resolved in Iraq I hope the Muslim world begins to look at the structure of the relationship of its leadership to its citizens. The Emirates and Kuwait are shining examples of traditional Muslim countries who have melded a fine relationship with Israel and the West with a retention of their national identity. The anger in less stable Muslim countries must be directed away from America and Israel, and they must find a way to channel the rage and violence that characterises so many of their cultures into creativity and commerce. Until that happens, the necessity for neo-con regimes in Israel, Great Britain and the USA will be a reality of life.


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